Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Let's Go Trippin'dotdotdot
artworkACE has been an amazingly good reissue label. Here, they've done a Dot singles collection, so it must have some of the crap since Dot issued lots of crap. I'm gonna skip most of the vocals altogether, even though that means missing golden opportunities to barf-launch over Gary Usher & the Usherettes, the Competitors, Pat Boone, and Don Brandon. Even on the instro side, there's plenty of lunch-return here, beginning with track 1. The studio lizardry of Milt Rogers lame rendition of Let's Go Trippin' (mono) is just plain drek, proving the difference between historic and old. The Surfaris are variously represented by the good, the bad and the ugly. The Decca version of "Surfer Joe" (stereo) instead of the DFS/Princess or Dot versions is puzzling, particularly because it is followed by the Dot edit of "Wipe Out" (mono). Also here is their end-of-the-line recordings from just before their fall of "Chicago Green" (mono), a sad white-boy Chicago blues instro. Also here are "You Can't Sit Down" (stereo) and "Green Onions" (stereo) identified as by the Surfaris (Challengers), and of course they are the pedestrian Challengers studio tracks that Richard Delvy substituted for the Surfaris tracks on their Dot album without their knowledge. These same songs were recorded by the Surfaris under Delvy's hand. I wonder if these tapes still exist? The Rumblers also have a few numbers including their sole hit "Boss" (stereo) and the follow-up "Boss Strikes Back" (mono), and "It's A Gas" (mono). Also here is the bass-cabinet-rattle monster "Waimea (Angry Sea)" (mono), and their weird twisted semi-vocal "I'm Bugged" (stereo). Why these aren't all in stereo is a mystery, since stereo masters exist. The Chantays surf archetype "Pipeline" (stereo) is here with the intro outboard wave sound edited off(?), plus "Monsoon" (mono), and "Beyond" (stereo) with it's terrible tape flutter lead guitar, and "Space Probe" (stereo). As earlier, these should all be in stereo since stereo masters exist. The Beachcombers are the Devons are Richie Allen & the Pacific Surfers are Richie Podolor and Bill Cooper. "Samoa" (mono) is also known as "Quiet Surf." This is one of the great wonders of the studio sub-genre. Most studio musician sessions sucked, but Richie Podolor's work was exquisite, as was most of Paul Johnson's. The Rancheros "Linda's Tune" (mono) is an intense surfarama. They are a complete unknown. Originally on Del-Fi maybe? Vaughn Monroe was a vocalist, so why is he here, and how come this sounds like the Mar-Ketts earliest session? Maybe it was a B-side substitution. It happened often enough in those heady daze of surf and slime.
Picks: Let's Go Trippin', Wipe Out, Boss, Move It, Pipeline, Samoa, Boss Strikes Back, Monsoon, You Can't Sit Down, It's A Gass, Beyond, Power Shift, Linda's Tune, Green Onions, Space Probe, Bugged, Waimea [The Angry Sea], Surfer's Stomp, Chicago Greens

Track by Track Review

Let's Go Trippin' dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Well now, this will certainly demonstrate what was wrong with most studio sessions in the sixties, studio musicians unfamiliar with the genre they were messing with, playing covers of all too familiar songs with so little feeling it hurt... this doesn't even hold up to the Billy Vaughn version of "Mr. Moto." Milt Rogers' "Let's Go Trippin'" is among the lamest covers around, as are his other tracks. So, why do they keep showing up on comps?

Wipe Out dotdotdotdot
TV Surf (Instrumental)

"Wipe Out" is simply the definitive drummer's badge of courage. If he can do a decent "Wipe Out," he's hired. Simple, and written and recorded in just minutes, this is an international classic that has sold multimillions of copies, and still does every year worldwide.

Boss dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the Rumblers lone national hit, and was the basis for their follow up singles "Boss Strikes Back," "Son of Boss," and "Boss Drums." Heavily R&B based, rhythmic and grumbly, its catchy thump and honkin' grodiness are essential listening for ant fan of the genre.

Move It dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Chantays' "Move It" is a classic flip side... one of the best B-side melodies and concepts ever, but the rendition is hard to listen to. The version of this that truly rules is the live recording of the Spiedels. It's A-side is "Pipeline," the definitive surf instro. "Move It" is an infectious and playful ditty that emphasizes choked slides for a unique experience. The warbly almost tape-flutter mix is a difficult listen.

Pipeline dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is it. This track defined surf. It is the archetype! Paul Johnson once told me that when first heard this tune on his car radio, he said Whoa! Wha-at is THAT?, and pulled over to the side of the road to listen. The Chantays defined the classic surf line up, 2 guitars, piano, bass, and drums. Glorious first use of glissandoes, first rhythm guitar dominance in the mix, and just plain essential.

Samoa dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is easily one of my favorite all time surf instros, and it's Richie Podolor on guitar and penmanship, of course. What a grand sound. The Mermen do this very well. It became "Quiet Surf" when it was recorded for the Rising Surf album. This is simply stunning, with rolling exotic tom toms and a totally different treatment than the more familiar Richie Allen & the Pacific Surfers' session.

Boss Strikes Back dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Monsoon dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Follow up single to "Pipeline," this track is unusual and infectious. It's got an excellent rhythm and just seems to grab the listener. The excellent melody line right perfect, and the piano is very tasty. It appears here in stereo for the first time.

You Can't Sit Down dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Pretty standard rendition of Dovells's hit. No where near as interesting as theirs, and that wasn't all that interesting to begin with. Pass.

It's A Gass dotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Another followup single that didn't make it. A sax driven surfy rod-based number. Way too fun.

Beyond dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Some have raved about this track, but the production is like "Move It," and just as hard to listen to. It's a "Pipeline" clone, though it is probably the second best track on their second album.

Power Shift dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Talk about your low energy stuff... this is about as unsurfy as it gets. Mostly a fifties jam kinda thing, with very restrained playing and hot rod effects.

Linda's Tune dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A cool surf obscuro, more rare than wonderful. It's an average foray into the lesser singles of the period, melodic, and good listening.

Green Onions dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Relatively soul free cover of the Booker T. & the M. G.'s hit, with a more Hammond-like organ, and sax in lieu of the guitar. A backdrop for your frat party, but not the center of your attention.

Space Probe dotdotdot
Space (Instrumental)

An amateurish attempt at space rock, inspired by the Tornadoes (Joe Meek's band) success with "Telstar." It's Americanized approach is typical of several singles ish'd in the sixties, but a little hokier than the Preps' "Moon Racers" or the What Four's "Gemini IV." Interesting non-surf turn of events.

Bugged dotdotdot
Space (Instrumental)

This exceptionally fun R&B instro has some narrated vocalizing, making it hard to define totally as an instro, but it's just too fun to pass up. That excellent quirky Rumblers sound and dumb utterances... what more could you ask for than that.

Waimea [The Angry Sea] dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This highly unusual track features the ugliest grodiest bass ever - mostly sounding like cabinet rattle without the bass notes... really cool! It's choppy, dark, brooding, and angular. A great track to augment a surf set.

Surfer's Stomp dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Now, I know what it says on the label, but really now. This sounds a lot like a Marketts' outtake. Maybe yes, maybe no. I guess if Pat Boone could pretend to the surf throne, so could Vaughn Monroe. It's a far cry from his 1949 version of "Mule Train, or any of his other ballads."

Chicago Greens dotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

This rare track is a pedestrian Booker T. and the MG's sorta thing. Only Ron Wilson and Jim Pash remained in the band at this point.